Cecil Papers: May 1591

Pages 108-115

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 4, 1590-1594. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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May 1591

Francis Willmott to the Lord Treasurer.
1591, May 5. Not having taken any benefit by the lease granted him by the Queen for services as yeoman usher, he prays that this particular be passed in reversion for 21 years for the tenants. Endorsed :—5 May 1591.
Note by Lord Burghley to the Auditor, asking for particulars.
1 p.
Lord Burghley to “Mr. Douglas, Ambassador of Scotland.”
1591, May 6. Desires to speak with him before the departure of the messenger that came from the Duke of Brunswick, either on the morrow at his, Lord Burghley's, house, or “this day betwixt twelve and one at S. John's House on the backside thereof towards Clerkenwell” which he would pass on his way to his house at Theobald's, according to the time of departure of the messenger.—“From my house in the Strand,” 6 May 1591.
Signed. Seal. ¾ p.
The Queen at Theobalds.
1591, May 3–10. Four papers, viz. :—
(1.) Disposition of the lodgings at Theobalds on the occasion of the Queen's visit.—May 3.
Corrections by Burghley.
(2.) “The Memorial for the Queen's coming to Theobald's.” Notes as to preparation, lodgings, &c.—May 3.
In Burghley's hand.
1 p.
(3.) “Persons appointed to wait upon the Queen in her progress at Theobalds, and lodgings appointed.”—May 4.
Corrected by Burghley.
(4.) Three lists of noblemen, ladies, and gentlemen, to be lodged at Theobalds on the occasion of the Queen's visit Notes by Burghley.
6 pp.
James Boyle to Sir John Conway.
1591, May 10. Though long, yet at the last I have procured answer of your inclosed letter [see April 12, 1590] which this day came to my hands, and hereinclosed you shall please to receive the same [see April 20/30, 1591]. The party is at Brussels, and for anything I know doth mean to continue there.—From Myddell[burgh,] 10 May, 1591.
Addressed :—To the right worshipful Sir John Conway, knight, at the Lord Cobham's house in the Blackfriars, London.
Holograph. Seal. ½ p.
Mr. Alderman Billingslet and other Officers of the Port of London to Lord Burghley.
1591, May 11. Relative to the remission of further custom on certain goods, as requested in a petition referred to them.—Custom house in London, 11 May 1591.
Signed :—Henry Billingsley; Robert Dow, collector; H. Asham, Compt.; John Smith.
1 p.
R. Douglas to Archibald Douglas.
1591, May 16. This interception of the Amb. letters, wherewith there was also one of mine, wherein for the favour I have borne and bear to the Earl Both well I have been holden in great suspicion myself, and accused thereof to the King by my kind uncle, albeit innocently, has been the cause that I have not written to you, for by the Amb. I could not goodly, neither would he, as he said, send any away any until he saw this last fact punished, and by the other way I durst not, for I knew upon suspicion conceived of me, my letters would have been brought back again. The 13th of this month I received two packets from you, the one from Mr. James Orde, the other by the Amb., wherein you desired me to send you some answer with expedition—which for the above reasons I could not do. First, wherein you set down some incongruities in my former letters, if you consider the mauner and form of my dealing therein and that which at the same time I wrote unto you, you shall easily perceive that there is no discordance in my letters, but only such as proceeded from him with whom I dealt, whose dealing and appearance, as I was informed by some principal wise courtiers, of matters to fall out as I wrote then, might well cause some contrarieties. You remember that I wrote to you that the party with whom I dealt, before he would do anything in what I requested, would see that which he desired and I promised perfected under your hand and sent in this country, to be put in some neutral and indifferent men's hands until he should perform what I desired. At length, upon your answer and the resolution by him of such doubts as you proposed, we came almost to a point, and he promised that before any other thing done I should be sent away with some matter to you which should serve for a beginning, and should bring home with me such rights as he required, but the departure of the other man at the rising of the Session, who was his principal mover in this matter, made him slower and drift matters from time to time until his departure to the North, at which time he referred the performing of all matters to his returning, which is not as yet come, but we look for him within these eight days. And as to that I wrote of some “intervenienttes “like to fall out in general, whereof since, by some of our actions, the contrary appeareth, the time I wrote they were very apparent, and I am assured the Amb., if he wrote according to information given him from wise and understanding persons in this State, he wrote the same, whereof yet it may be there shall be some appearance ere it be long, if this matter of Bothwell do not drive our courtiers, as it is like it shall, to a contrary course. Yet I am very sorry that my informations should have been the cause of any hard opinion to be construed of you, or that you should be in danger to be reputed a light speaker, for so soon as the party returns, whose credit rather increases nor diminishes, I will do good will to perform all that I promised, even with my loss and danger both, and shall not regard the offers of any here, be they never so great, so that I may work you any benefit. As to the Earl Bothwell, which you say the wiser part of that realm do imagine to come “a fordar drift “than doth openly appear, indeed it appears so by this his hard handling, for that matter which seemed in the beginning light and of no importance has taken a deeper impression in his Majesty's head, as I am informed, nor any could have believed. I cannot assure you what shall become of that matter, whereof many speak diversely, and men's judgments are clean contrary, for some think him in no danger as innocent of this matter, whereof there appears as yet nothing to be laid to his charge, nor any sure agreement saving the deposition of one only person, infamous and defamed, not sufficient to be a witness in any matter, let be in one of that importance, and that the nobility will be judges and will not be contented to take the life of one of their principal number upon so weak and small evidence. Others think that there shall be greater probations deduced against him in time, and that there is some farther matter in it nor as yet appears, and that his Majesty would not have taken so deep a conceit upon so weak a ground, except he had some more for him nor every man knows, which he reserves to be opened in his own time, and that if this crime be not found sufficient he has divers others to lay against him whereby he has deserved death, and that if they were minded to dally with him as heretofore, they would not have taken so straight an order with him and his servants as they do. These are the general discourses now in every man's mouth. What effect it shall produce for my own part I cannot determine; always I see it will take a long delay, for at this Convention whereat very few of the nobility was present, there is little matter of importance determined, saving that the Earl's matter must be put to trial of the nobility only, but as yet there is no certain day set down for it, but I hear tomorrow shall be concluded upon the day for the next convention for this trial. I am informed that in those intercepted letters of the Ambassador, it appears evidently that a great part of the Earl Bothwell's troubles proceeded from that country, and that the Ambassador himself has been very busy to blow up the coals, and that he writes assuredly of the conclusion of his death. If it be so (as I cannot certainly believe it, for he affirms the contrary to me, neither can I as yet have a sight of his letter), surely he has dissimulated very far with me, neither can I trust it, for I know the Earl never deserved it at his hands; for surely I believe he has never entered in no course against them since his promise in the contrary by me, but has done all good offices for the entertainment of the amity, as appeared by his late actions in the Borders. Suppose all promises were not kept to him, as you can well testify, always you may learn if this be true; and for me, I will endeavour to inform myself of the very contents of his letter, which I could not as yet do; for his friends here, ' suppose' they know that I love my Lord Bothwell and trust me in some of his other matters, yet in this, for the familiarity I have with the Ambassador and that country, suspect me and are not so plain as they would be. I thank you for what you have done for James Maitland. He had returned before my letter came to your hands, but upon bond, which I doubt not upon those letters you have procured will be discharged. I am assured the gentleman himself will be thankful so far as he may. I delivered your other letter to my Lord, the Justice Clerk, who immediately thereafter did communicate it to the Ambassador, but as a motion proceeding from yourself, who will assist him for the performing thereof. He thought it good also to impart it to the Chancellor, sine quo factum est nihil, but suppressing your name, as come from himself as a matter concerning the King's service, for he knew, if he should have uttered your name and opened the truth, he would have crossed it for evil will of you. He doubts not but that matter shall be performed as you desire. It has not yet been thoroughly handled. So soon as it shall be, which I will hasten at the Justice Clerk's hands, I shall advertise you by the moyen of the Ambassador. I have delivered your letter to Mr. David Makgili, but received no answer as yet. As to that matter touching Andro Sibbett, I see you have made an ' unsure block' with him, “as with some others of before,” for he is lying in the Tolbooth for more nor he is able to pay. Always I shall take order that he shall not go thence until he take some order for your relief.—Edinburgh, 16 May, 1591.
[P.S.]—I am informed there are horsemen to be taken up under the charge of Carmichael, which, if it be true, is an hard presage for Bothwell; and that His Majesty is to send someone in that country to seek money for their entertainment. There are divers by commandment travailing to make a friendship betwixt the Chancellor and Treasurer, which is thought to be for the wreck of Bothwell; but I can affirm nothing.
Holograph. Seal. 3 pp.
R. Douglas to his Uncle [Archibald Douglas].
1591, May 18. I have written so lately to you of all matters, both answers to your letters and of our state here, that it were superfluous to repeat them, since there is no great matter fallen; but yet, having the occasion of this gentleman, present bearer, I could not let him go without my letters . . . . to testify unto you my diligence, as also to let you understand what further were done in the matter you wrote to my lord the Justice Clerk, with whom I had large conference this last night after supper. He desires me to excuse him at your hands that he writes not to you himself, which he would defer to do until the time the matter he wrote of were put to some point, and then he would write at length. He has already made the motion both to the King and Chancellor, and delivered to them all the reasons and circumstances . . . . came in your letter, which has willingly been received, and before [the] departure of this Brunswicker there will be some order taken th[erein] and one sent both to her Majesty there, and after one of greater quality to Denmark and other places. This the Justice Clerk . . . . . . .sed to hold hand to see shortly performed. At the conclusion he [will] write to you at length. He assures me he will not . . . . . . . . self to be employed in the matter, but will refuse f[or the] reasons that he will make you acquainted with, for he . . . . . . such travails where the pains are his, the thanks and pri. . . . other men's, who perhaps had not so willing a mind for doing of [the] service. This is all I can write of that matter. As to the [Earl] Bothwell's matter, there is no further done in it than was at my last writing, for the day appointed for the next convention and his. . . . . . . .is not yet set down. It should have been yesterday, but will not [be] before this day at council, or else the next day, for the 20 [of this] month the King goes over the water to Dunfermling, not to [return] before the convention. Bothwell's friends seem to be in some better hope of him than they were, but for my own part I can see no great cause. I pray you learn what mind the state. . . . . . .toward him and if you may but “offonst,” do your best to do him go[od]. This reconciliation made betwixt the Chancellor and Treasurer, if [I am] truly informed, will not go forward, notwithstanding that his Majesty and divers others be earnest to have it. Neither is there any . . . . of listing of men except the means come from that country. Our council is occupied partly upon the reformation of the [service]. It is thought they shall take some new order with it before they leave it off. I can write you no further of our state nor. . . of your own particular; but as other matters shall fall out . . . . any occasion offered by the return of my lord Spynie to prosecute our. . . . . .purpose, I shall not fail to embrace it. I advertise you therefore . . . . yet as this other matter commended to the Justice Clerk. . . . . . . . .shall by the. . . . . .means advertise you. In the mean time, I cannot forbear to commend to your acquaintance the bearer hereof, Mr. Locke, a gentlemen of that country, who during his abode in these parts, which has been half a year and more, has behaved himself very honestly and discreetly to the great liking of all men; and his Majesty and the Queen also have couceived no little opinion of his virtuous and honest behaviour, so that they would willingly entertain him in their service, but the gentleman, though he be malcontented of his own state at home for divers reasons which, upon conference, he will deduce to you at length, yet knowing the council to be jealous of such as by their knowledge serves other princes, durst not enter himself before he had made some of the Council, as the Chancellor and Treasurer, acquainted therewith; which by this his present journey he intends to do, that by their good leave he may follow forth his fortune here. Therefore, my lord, I am to request you, after that you have spoken with himself, who will deduce his own cause to you better than I can write it, that you will show him the favour you can in commanding his cause to my lord Chancellor, Treasurer, or any other with whom you have credit, and in doing him what other courtesy you may, fur surely I can say nothing of him but well, and I shall use all the means I may to get you the offer of Mary . . . . . . . .of any he . . . or any other hawks that are in this country, if you send me a man for carrying of them. In the meantime I am to request you to cause some of your friends that are skilful make choice of a couple of fine bows to be sent by you to my lord the Justice Clerk, who is very desirous to have them, and some fine bow strings, because they are not good here; and what you will command him in this country he will send unto you. P.S. I have sent by this bearer letters to Archibald Johnstoune which he requires that it will please you receive and deliver to him, for the king's requests for others in their favours are therein contained. There is also other matters of great importance presently in hand, but I dare not write them, both for the danger, and then if, perhaps, they fall not forth, you will account me a vain speaker. But ere it be long you shall understand further. There are certain summoned for papistry and trafficking with foreign nations to be tomorrow before the council. The end of which trial will make it appear that all that I have written of before of some course like to fall out is not in vain.—Edinburgh, 18 May 1591.
Holograph. Damaged, 2 pp.
Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury to Lord Burghley.
1591, May 28. My especial and best lord. This other day I received your letter of the 22nd of this May, and few things in my life to my greater comfort, for it confirmed most steadfastly the assured hope which of long I have conceived in your lordship's especial favour and good affection towards me. And now I beseech your good lordship give me leave to make answer (which shall be most truly though very rudely) to those things objected, touching my being led by others, whereof your lordship hath most friendly and fatherly indeed given me notice of. For the truth thereof I will leave it to the judgment of those who best know me and my government past, and shall do that to come, but by whom the same was long since raised, hath been ever since continued, and of late is especially renewed, and for what cause put into that party's head where your lordship found it, I do presume that I do certainly know. And I would to God that party who is possessed with that conceit knew the nature and condition of the inventor as well (as I hope your lordship,) myself and many in this country do. And for that this letter is written in secret manner, and, therefore, I shall beseech you to use it accordingly, I will most plainly open it unto your lordship. Sir Thomas . . . . [Stone ?], one of the most ambitious, proud, covetous and subtle persons that ever I was acquainted with, having of long carried an evil disposition both toward my wife and me, and also a most malicious mind to Mr Thomas Markham (betwixt whom and me he well knoweth to have been dearness of good will and friendship since I was of man's estate and before,) he did divers years since give out, and by some of his instruments he caused it to be put into my father's head, that, as my father was apt to conceive that I was too much led by my mother-in-law, and my wife, so he confirmed the same, and withal added that there was a third person, Mr Thomas Markham, who joining with them did wholly rule and govern me in all things as best pleased them. Now, since it pleased God to allow me to this place of my father, this deep reaching gentleman hath been vehemently troubled with fear of two things especially; the one is that I should be lieutenant of these two shires of Nottingham and Derby, and that himself should not be deputy lieutenant in Nottinghamshire, which I know he hath caused some of his near kinsmen earnestly to labour for, if so there was no remedy but that I should so be; but much rather he endeavoureth to keep me from it by all the underhand means that possibly he can devise (and I had much rather, I assure your lordship, never to be lieutenant than he to be deputy unto me) : but this he taketh to be the chiefest means to prevent it, as also deepliest to impair my credit, to draw me into this contemptible conceit and opinion with the best, that I am wholly ruled and led by Thomas Markham, so as thereby what service or authority should be committed to me should be directed by him, with the allowance of my wife. &c. The other matter of his fear is this, lest I should join with the great multitudes of people of all sorts who are prejudiced by a weir of his at Shelford, in seeking some lawful means to have the same reformed, which weir I dare boldly inform you is as prejudicial a thing to as many who possess or hold any lands adjoining to the river of Trent above Shelford within the ccunt'.es of Nottingham, Derby and Stafford as any weir is, or I think ever was, in these parts. Now, my good lord, to bring my poor credit to be so poor and mean indeed as it should not be able to prejudice him either in this, or any other like matter, wherein to his own benefit (without respect of harm to others) he is often exercised, he hath caused this his wicked device (well known to himself to be most untrue) to be put into her head. For the power that my wife hath with me, I confess to your lordship it is very great, and I never heard of anything yet that was said or conceived thereof by any whosoever that ever lessened it, and so far I have been hitherto from ever finding any manner of cause in her that she would take upon her more than was fit for her, as it did never yet (nor I hope ever shall) once enter into my thought whether she would take upon her more than became her, if I should offer myself to be ruled by her more than were fit for any man to be by his wife. But for Thomas Markham, though he be (as of very long he hath been) my dear good friend, and as often and many ways hath expressed the same unto me as ever any friend of mine to his power hath done (for the which I will ever rest most thankfully affected unto him) yet I should greatly loath and disdain myself, if my own heart could be witness unto me that I were so base and devoid of all good spirit and wit (though very simple indeed I am I must needs confess) as to be led and ruled by him or by any one man living; such excepted whose advice I have vowed for the love he bears me and deep wisdom (your lordship's self I mean) to follow before all others. Your promise to do your best to remove this opinion where you found it, as also your grave advice to me to provide hereafter good remedies to remove it, I do with all love and thankfulness embrace and humbly . thank you for; but besides your lordship, I know no means to go about it, neither mean I to use any, and were it not rather for the great grief I conceive that so royal a sovereign whom I so loyally reverence and humbly love, should conceive so contemptible opinion of me, than that I should thereby be kept from any service of employment in the state, 1 protest I would not desire to have it removed; for though I be as far as any living man is from any jot of discontentment with the present government of the state, either by the temporality or clergy, yet my own insufficiency (best known to myself), being accompanied with a vehement desire to [live] quietly, withdraweth my mind wholly from all desire of [any] manner of further employment than only to uphold the ordinary honour here at home in the country which it hath pleased Almighty God of long to bless my ancestors with, that I be not noted the first of my house that hath brought dishonour thereto.
Now for the manner of my proceeding with Brytten and her nephew. It pleaseth your lordship to set down the reasons that moved you to conceive you were not the best dealt with by the delay of my answer to you &c. I do confess indeed I might have answered somewhat sooner, yet the miscarrying of my letter made the time thrice so long as otherwise it had. been; but craving pardon for so much as therein I did err, I will with your favorable leave answer only to one especial thing which it seems your lordship somewhat mistaketh. You write that, considering her embezzling of my father's goods were in his life time, and so being his fault to suffer her to have such advantage and credit with him, it will be thought harder dealing in me to put her life in danger now in my time &c. It is very true indeed that during my father's life she did embezzle much, but the great masses which, in my conscience, she and her nephew, with others of their confederates, stole away was even about the time of his death, and after all that were about him were past any hope of his life, which was twenty four hours before he died. Had I not certainly heard that those base persons had vaunted and bragged that they would prove me within the compass of præmunire, I would not have taken the last course I did to indict them of felony; and I earnestly beseech you to weigh in your own grave judgment whether such an indignity offered and uttered, yea, and sometimes publickly, by the mother of such persons, would not stir any man's heart and reason to endeavor any lawful means to bring them as far in danger to him as he could. And yet, the Lord knoweth, I am far from desiring their deaths, only it is for the maintenance of my poor honour and credit that I seek and desire thereby. To conclude, my hap hath been very hard of late, first in that I am meanly left in present ability of estate, yet thought generally to be far otherwise. Then the great unkindness that happened betwixt my mother-in-law and me, which gave the world so large a scope to censure us both. Now the clamours and outcries of cruel and hard dealing that these filching creatures and their instruments, such as Bubbe and others, say that I have used against them; and lastly, the power that I perceive some who (either for malice to me or fear of prejudice to themselves) have to incense the greatest, of my unworthiness for any service or for this place that God hath put me in, which indeed is more grievous to me and will be, if it continue, than all the rest, and if your lordship remove it not, as I said before, it is like still to remain as it is. But (my best lord) as I am, accept me I beseech you, for one who doth so honour and love you as though I were indeed your natural son; and as your lordship is pleased (to my exceeding comfort) so much to honour me, and to promise to be in favour and good will as a father unto me, so with all earnestness (on the knees of my heart) I do most earnestly beseech it.—Worksop, 28 May 1591.
Endorsed by Burghley :—“The Earl of Shrewsbury.”
Holograph. Seal. 4 pp.
Thomas Cartwright and others.
[1591, May.] Exceptions to the answer made by Thomas Cartwright and others to a bill exhibited against them touching questions of Ecclesiastical Government.
Endorsed :—“May 1591. Defects in the answer of Mr. Cartwright and the rest.”
3 pp.
A Short Progress For Her Majesty.
1591, May. Tuesday the 4th May from Greenwich to Hackney, and there six days. Monday the 10th May from Hackney to Theobalds, and there four days. Friday the 14th May from Theobalds to They don Bois, Mrs. Elderton's to dinner, and to Havering to bed, and there five days. Wednesday the 19th May from Havering to Luxborough, the Widow Stoner's, and there two days. Friday the 21st to “Laigheton Stone,” Mr. Saunderson's to dinner, and to Greenwich to bed.
Bedingfield Property.
1591, May. Particulars of the Manors in Norfolk and Suffolk which Mrs. Anne Bedingfield has for life, giving the value found by office : the reversion of the lands being in the Queen during the minority of Henry Bedingfield. the Queen's Ward. Terms offered by Mr. Henry Jernegan, who has the custody of the ward, for the lands, if Mrs. Bedingfield should die, they being necessary for the maintenance of Oxburro, the ward's chief house.—May 1591.
Endorsed :—“A Remembrance for Mr. Henry Jernegan.”
1 p.